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Stephen King, an evil car, and a teenage boy coming to terms with the fragility and randomness of life.... Wait, haven't we read this before? Diehard King fans, worry not. Aside from the titular car playing a main role in the story, From a Buick 8 could not be less like King's 1983 masterpiece, Christine. If anything, this story resembles King's serial novel The Green Mile, with reminiscing police characters flashing back on bizarre events that took place decades earlier.
The book's intriguing plot revolves around the troopers of Pennsylvania State Patrol Troop D, who come into possession of what at first appears to be a vintage automobile. Closer inspection and experimentation conducted by the troopers reveal that this car's doors (and trunk) sometimes open to another dimension populated by gross-out creatures straight out of... well, a Stephen King novel. As the plot progresses, the veteran troopers' tales of these visits from interdimensional nasties, and the occasional "lightquakes" put on by the car, are passed on to the son of a fallen comrade whose fascination with the car bordered on dangerous obsession.
Unlike earlier King works, there is no active threat here; no monster is stalking the heroes of the story, unless you count the characters' own curiosity. In past books, King has terrorized readers with vampires, werewolves, a killer clown, ghosts, and aliens, but this time around, the bogeyman is a more passive, cerebral threat, and one for which they don't make a ready-to-wear Halloween costume--man's fascination with and fear of the unknown. While some readers may find this tale less exciting than the horror master's earlier works, From a Buick 8 is a wonderful example of how much King's plotting skills and literary finesse have matured over his long career. And, most of all, it's a darn creepy book. --Benjamin Reese
King, we learn in an author's note, hashed out the plot of this gripper while driving from western Pennsylvania to New York. The first draft took two months to write. That's quick work, and it's reflected in the book's simplicity of plot and theme; unlike King's chewy last novel, Dreamcatcher, this one goes down like a shot of moonshine, hot and clean, much like Cujo, say, or Gerald's Game. In 1979, an odd man drives what at first glance looks like a 1954 mint-quality Buick Roadmaster up to a service station in rural Pennsylvania, then vanishes, leaving behind the car. The state police of Troop D deposit the vehicle in a shed near their barracks, where, up to the present, it remains a secret from all but cop colleagues for the car isn't exactly a car; it may be alive, and it certainly serves as a doorway between our world and... what? Another dimension? Another galaxy? The troopers never find out, despite their amateurish scientific investigations of it and of the weird beings that occasionally emerge from the vehicle's trunk: freaky fish, creepy flowers and more. Moreover, the "car" is dangerous: the day it appears, a state trooper disappears, and experiments over the years with cockroaches, etc., indicate that just as the car can spew things out, it will ingest them. While the book's relative brevity and simplicity does lend comparison to earlier King, and King has relied on a nasty car before (Christine), the author's stylistic maturity manifests in his sophisticated handling of the round robin of narrators (both first and third-person), the sharp portrayal of police ways and mores and the novel's compelling subthemes (loyalty, generational bondings) and primary theme: that life is filled with Buick 8s, phenomena that blindside us and that we can never understand. This novel isn't major King, but it's nearly flawless and one terrific entertainment.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Slow moving story about a bunch of police officers who discover a mysterious alien Buick in western Pennsylvania. Read morePublished 16 months ago by David Cavaco
Very unusual storyline but had me involved from the first chapter. This book is extremely AWESOME!
I would recommend this to any King fan.
The "Buick 8" is a car kept in storage shed B behind the headquarters of Pennsylvania State Police Troop D headquarters. Read morePublished on Feb. 19 2013 by John M. Ford
When Ned Wilcox loses his father Curtis, a former Pennsylvania Trooper, he begins to hang around the barracks of Pennsylvania Troop D where his father spent so much of his time. Read morePublished on May 1 2009 by Jamieson Villeneuve
I have read the book, and the story was not too bad, but like Hearts In Atlantis he (King) does not quite manage to bring the story anywhere, and this occures to you just after... Read morePublished on July 18 2004 by Pål Amundsen
I was somewhat disappointed in this book, it never seemed to really go anywhere and I kept waiting for something to actually happen. Read morePublished on July 12 2004 by "monkeedee2"
Having been a longtime fan of Stephen King, I was greatly disappointed in 'From A Buick 8'. The story was almost non-existent, the characters were poorly developed and there was no... Read morePublished on July 12 2004 by A reader
I have read and enjoyed almost every book King his written. I managed to make it through 200 pages before I had to give up. Boring, pointless, unscary. Read morePublished on June 7 2004
I listened to the unabridged audiobook version of this book and was not terribly impressed. But it did have a sprinkling of classic King horror elements which kept me interested... Read morePublished on June 7 2004 by Rebecca